CIDT facilitates regional dialogue on Caribbean community engagement

15 December 2021
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A team from CIDT facilitated a half day, virtual Symposium on Community Engagement for the Caribbean Development Bank. The Symposium took place on 1st December and was held to mark the publication of the newly revised ‘Community Engagement Guidance Note’, which has been developed with inputs from practitioners across the Caribbean and editorial support from CIDT.

The Guidance Note combines the theory of effective community engagement with practical, participatory tools and approaches to support community practitioners in their work. Prepared with financial support from two key CDB programmes, the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) and the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF), the publication is seen as an important new resource in supporting community resilience building in the region.

The launch event was moderated by Ella Haruna with facilitation support from Dani Baur, and featured a range of speakers including: Sarah Thomas (CIDT), Jessica Harris (Gender Analyst, Caribbean Development Bank), Nadian Anderson (Training Manager, Social Development Commission, Jamaica), Richardo Aiken (Community Development Specialist, CDB), Lavern Louard-Greaves (Social Analyst, CDB) and Clive Murray (Community Resilience Specialist, Caribbean Disasters and Emergencies Management Agency).

The panel presentations highlighted different aspects of community engagement practice and the importance and challenges of facilitating meaningful engagement throughout the life cycle of CDB interventions, not just at the design stage, where it is relatively well-established.

The symposium also included a ‘Voices from the Community’ session, in which community representatives from Belize (Mrs Cecilia Alas) and community engagement officials from Guyana (Ms Mariea Harrinaraine and Mr Richard Maughn) shared their perspectives on the community engagement process.

Participants then had the opportunity to discuss the issues in more depth in a group session, which explored how to embed the Guidance Note and support its use going forwards.

The symposium ended with an official ceremony to unveil the Community Engagement Guidance Note, held at CDB headquarters in Barbados and broadcast online. The launch was officiated by Mrs Deirdre Clarendon, Division Chief, Social Section Division, CDB. The symposium was opened by Ms. Andria Grosvenor, Deputy Executive Director (ag.), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and Mr. George Yearwood, Portfolio Manager of the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) CDB.